He’s a man of few words, but a monster onstage. He’s the most shredded vegan you’ll probably ever meet, but he can also shred your face off. He is none other than Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein of Misfits fame, and he’s terrorizing towns once again with his eponymously titled project Doyle alongside Cancerslug vocalist Alex “Wolfman” Story. The band has just released their second album, As We Die, and to quote Story during their live show, when it comes to most of the material on the album: “It’s like a love song, and you can dance to it if you want.” We got a chance to sit down and talk with Story and Doyle before their show in Spartanburg, S.C about playing the new material, surviving the music industry, and why you never leave home without your war paint.
Although fierce and domineering relentless on stage, off-stage this dynamic duo come across as just two friends who happen to make music together. They finish or co-opt each other’s sentences and share silence exchanges in mere looks. This translates onstage with the power of their delivery and ability to consume an entire stage. Spartanburg was the second night of the tour and when asked about the first night, they said it was good to finally release the new music into the ether.
Story describes the opening night of the tour, “It was good. It was weird because we did mostly new stuff and it was the first time playing the new songs. So, it was mostly trial by fire. The album hadn’t come out yet, so a lot of people didn’t know the songs yet, but it was a great response. We had a good time and it’s fun playing new stuff. It always is.”
Coming from a rich and revered career with the Misfits, Doyle is a man people the world over have come to know. Misfits began in Lodi, NJ in 1977 with Doyle joining the band a few later and international acclaim finding the band, and their “horror punk” style, in the years that followed. Story made his mark on the world with self-proclaimed “death sleaze” band Cancerslug in 1999. With both bands having decades of combined history and both men witnessing changes in live music over the years, they have slightly different perspectives on then versus now.
“Sometimes we get paid now. That’s nice,” Doyle chuckles.
Even though he agrees getting paid is important, and vital to continuing to do what they do, Story notes a different observation:
“The crowds used to be more..these days a crowd’s like ‘Entertain me.’ It used to be that a crowd brought an enthusiasm with them. Like they’re just there to have fun and that energy translated to the band and back and forth. Nowadays, they expect the band to start. They expect us to give the energy first before they reciprocate. It's just a different kind of feel to shows nowadays than it was years ago, but at the same time: music is music and stuff doesn't change that much.”
The two do agree on one thing: their love of the music they’ve created on As We Die. The men both concur that anything new is usually their favorite.
“I like the new stuff. My favorite song is usually the last one (of the night),” Doyle remarks with a grin.
Story explains, “I always like the new stuff. Then when we’re done we can go eat pasta! I don’t know though, there’s a lot of great stuff. Like with this album it's like we really… like with Abominator we came out with all our heaviest stuff. We wanted to just pound them into submission right off the jump. So, with this album, we got to branch out and do some more melodic stuff and some more gothic stuff, and just some different kind of stuff from the pure, in-your-face heavy shit. You know, it's fun to be able to play some of that stuff live and to have different soundscapes to play with.”
Despite a love of the new, there is always credit and respect to be given for older things- whether it's music, memorabilia, or equipment. Always keeping a piece of history and his roots with him on the road, Doyle disclosed that all of his speaker cabinets are original. So, every fan that comes to a Doyle show is essentially getting to hear the same maintained quality of sound as his Misfit days.
Even with dedicated fans and a love of music, maintaining relevance and longevity can have their setbacks in the music industry. Exhaustion, depression, and anxiety are just some of the symptoms of burnout that can affect artists. Somehow Story and Doyle have managed to keep these particular monsters at bay by keeping these fresh, innovative, and keeping their creative fires stoked. Plus, in their own words, they’re “too lazy” to do anything else and don’t believe they’re cut out for anything else.
Doyle states plainly, “It’s (the music industry) a whore.”
“We’re too dumb to do anything else. This (music) is the only thing we’re capable of. We can't function in any other part of society.This is the only thing that they’ll accept us as. We’ve tried! We’ve tried so many times! This is literally the only thing in this life that they’ll let us do,” Story laughs.
In interviews past, and most recently at NAMM, Doyle has mentioned working through some personal anxiety, especially in crowds. Although it’s hard to image this musical, and physical, giant having this kind of issue, many artists have struggled with anxiety, among other things. So what helps Doyle dominate despite this uncertainty? The secret is something women have known for years helps in boosting confidence: make-up.
“I paint myself up like a clown so no one can see me,” he says earnestly.
Story elaborates,” It's war paint. It’s no different than if you go into a job interview, or date, or anything else you would be nervous at. You put on some fly ass f*cking sh*t that you feel f*cking awesome in. It’s like you become that character. It’s like a power shield. So, when you go up there and do a bunch of murder ass music about f*cking destroying sh*t, then you dress up to destroy sh*t and that’s what you do!”
The guys are incredibly proud of As We Die and look forward to more shows and more people singing along with them. Their chemistry and the intensity of the band fills and shakes a room, so the energy is there in abundance, but or fans looking to find this devilish duo on the road, beware. Sure, they want you to come, party, raise a little hell, and dance if you want to, but they have other intentions as well. How will you leave a Doyle show?
“I want them to feel like they got an audio ass whoopin’,” Story laughs.